September 5, 2013
"The Mis-Education of the Negro," originally published 80 years ago by Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson, taught us that African Americans of his time were being culturally programmed and brainwashed, rather than taught, in American schools. We believe that is also true today, and with the exodus of so many African American students transferring to predominantly white school districts, the indoctrination will continue.
My focus this week is the mis-education of white people, especially their ignorance concerning African American and other people of color.
Dr. Robin Di Angelo asks what it means to be white in a society that proclaims race meaningless yet is deeply divided by race. In the face of pervasive racial inequality and segregation, it is noted that most whites cannot answer that question.
In her book ‘What Does It Mean To Be White?’Dr. Di Angelo argues that a number of factors make this question difficult for whites; miseducation about what racism is. Many factors contribute to what she terms white racial illiteracy. She describes how race shapes the lives of white people, explains what makes racism so hard for whites to see, identifies common white racial patterns, and speaks back to popular white narratives that work to deny racism. I consider her book as important as Dr. Woodson’s book.
Many white people will not discuss the effects and implications of poverty on people of color, or examine causes, such as the lack of adequate schoolrooms and textbooks, and insufficient job opportunities.
It is usually a black or a brown face they attach to a demographic faction that lives below the radar of wealthy and middle-class Americans. They usually do not reflect on how income, family background, culture attitudes, aspirations and appearance make someone a member of a particular group.
Pat Buchanan said ‘though blacks are outnumbered 5-to-1 in the population by whites, they commit eight times as many crimes against whites as the reverse. By those 2007 numbers, a black male was 40 times as likely to assault a white person as the reverse.
If interracial crime is the ugliest manifestation of racism, what does this tell us about where racism really resides in America?’ These are the attitudes I am referring to. People such as Pat Buchannan and other bigoted journalists launch this hatred and misinformation to keep us divided.
Nichole Jaworski of the CBS TV affiliate in Charlotte, N.C. suggest racism is an issue that continues to persist in our country because after centuries of slavery and oppression amongst the African-American population, it is deeply ingrained in American history. And while most of us are familiar with slavery and oppression in American history, according to a study conducted by Tufts University’s School of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Business School, some white Americans believe that they are the victims of reverse racism.
Aaron Taylor wrote in the Huffington Post ‘so to my fellow white adoptive parents with minority children, when the white establishment tries to deflect the subject away from civil rights for black men by talking about "black on black crime," we can't let the establishment get away with it. They can change the subject. We can't’.
Many of you recently celebrated the historic 1963 March on Washington, and listened to Dr. King’s speech that included:
‘Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy.
Now it the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.
Now it the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.
Now is the time to make justice a reality to all of God's children.
The mis-education of white America must be addressed before we will be a complete united nation. We must speak to a system divided by race and class, and usually class can be harder to spot than racial or ethnic differences, yet in many ways it’s the most important predictor of what kind of financial and educational opportunities someone will have in life.
So as we try to overcome the mis-education of the Negro, let’s also develop a method of correcting the mis-education of whites as well.
Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.
I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be Ever Wonderful!